A sheriff's deputy in central Arizona was shot Friday afternoon by a suspected drug trafficker, authorities said.Well, I think this certainly reinforces the need for that "tough" new law.
The Pinal County deputy, who was not immediately identified, contacted authorities after being wounded in the desert, saying he had been shot by an illegal immigrant with an AK-47, said Lt. Tammy Villar, a sheriff's spokeswoman.
The deputy radioed that he had encountered five men, some wielding long guns and handguns, and said they were carrying a large amount of marijuana.
At one point the deputy lost radio contact with authorities, leading to a search by foot and by air for him and the shooter, according to CNN affiliate KNXV. Video from the scene shows that the deputy was located while sitting in desert brush, surrounded by cactus. He was able to walk to a helicopter that airlifted him to a hospital.
A spokeswoman at Casa Grande Regional Medical Center confirmed that the deputy was being treated there Friday evening. He was in good condition with stable vital signs, conscious and comfortable, she said.
The deputy was shot in the left abdomen and suffered a superficial wound, law enforcement sources said.
The search for the shooter continued into the evening.
The shooting comes amid a national debate over Arizona's tough new immigration law, which allows police to demand proof of legal residency. Arizona lawmakers say the law is needed because the federal government has failed to enforce border security with Mexico, allowing more than 450,000 illegal immigrants to move into the state.
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